Friday, September 30 2022

CANTON, Ohio (WJW) – Stark County District Attorney Kyle Stone said a grand jury declined to indict Canton police officer Robert Huber, who shot and killed James Williams, 46 years old, New Year’s Day.

Huber was responding shortly after midnight Jan. 1 to reports of gunfire in the 2300 block of Southwest 10th Street, where he met Williams. The father-of-six from Canton was shot and killed while firing his AR rifle into the air as part of a New Year celebration, according to reports.

The shooting was investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which released its preliminary findings in May, Stone said Wednesday. The bureau’s report is expected to be available online later today, he said.

During two days of testimony, prosecutors presented all the evidence and gave the grand jurors several lists of charges on which they could indict, Stone said.

“I understand that this is not the outcome that some people wanted, but I want to assure this community that we presented this case in a fair and equitable manner, presented all the evidence and gave [grand jurors] several options for different loads,” he said. “I have exercised caution in this matter and have not allowed public opinion or anything like that to influence the way we have operated and presented this matter.

“With the grand jury deciding not to indict, no further action will be taken by my office.”

Williams’ family has since filed a lawsuit. Their attorneys have been notified of the decision, Stone said.

The family’s law firm released a statement Wednesday afternoon:

Over the past two weeks, the Stark County District Attorney presented the tragic death of James Williams by Township Police Officer Robert Huber to the Stark County Grand Jury. Today, the Williams family is deeply disappointed with the decision not to charge Constable Huber. Since January 1, 2022, for eight months, the Williams family has dealt with unimaginable grief and grief that comes with the loss of a husband, father and friend. They’ve had bad day after bad day, and today is no exception.

The tragic death of James Williams, who was shot through a fence by Officer Huber without announcing his presence first, was shown to everyone in the released body camera video. James’ death could have been avoided and should never have happened. While we are not privy to the evidence and testimony presented during the grand jury proceedings, the Williams family looks forward to the future fact-finding process and thorough review of the complete BCI investigation files during of their release by the Ohio Attorney General’s office.

Although the Williams family is saddened that Officer Huber does not have to face criminal charges, the Williams family and their legal team are firmly committed to continuing to fight for justice through the civilian justice system to to hold accountable those responsible for James’ death. . The Williams family will continue to peacefully advocate for police reform to change the system that allowed this tragedy to happen. Although the Stark County District Attorney was unsuccessful in getting justice for James, we won’t stop until we succeed.

Blakemore, Meeker and Bowler

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